Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (2024)

Few summer vegetables are as refreshing and hydrating as cucumbers. Cool and crunchy, they’re popular in many side salad recipes, including this creamy cucumber salad with sour cream. It is a classic among summer salads, but one you can enjoy all year. Whether using fresh-from-the-garden cukes or ones plucked from the produce aisle, cucumbers sliced and combined with onions, vinegar and sour cream are one of life’s great pleasures.

Like many healthy cucumber recipes, the creamy cucumber salad can be made easily and quickly with just about any type of cucumber, including English cucumbers or homegrown slicing and pickling varieties. Sour cream cucumbers are wonderful alongside everything from goulash to this potato kielbasa skillet, but we’ve been known to eat this creamy cucumber salad with sour cream on its own just because it tastes that good.

Ingredients for Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream

  • Cucumbers: All cucumber varieties work in this recipe, but you’ll probably want to peel ones with thick, waxy skin like American slicing cucumbers. Thinner-skinned English, Armenian and Kirby pickling cucumbers can be left unpeeled, giving the slices more structure and boosting the salad with shades of green.
  • Onion: Vidalia and other sweet onion varieties have a mild flavor and less bite than other types of onions. A pale white and yellow onion also works in this salad; it will have a stronger taste, but the dressing will mellow its bite. A red onion will turn the dressing a faint pink.
  • Sour cream: Sour cream may look too thick for a dressing as you scoop it from the container, but it thins quickly when mixed with the vinegar and even more so as it coats the water-heavy cucumbers and onion. Full-fat sour cream makes the creamiest dressing, but reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream works too.
  • Vinegar: White vinegar has no flavor; it’s just zing. Of all thetypes of vinegar, some cooks argue that white vinegar works best for salad dressings and pickles because it’s so neutral. For a slightly sweeter taste, replace it with apple cider vinegar. Choose white wine vinegar as a more mellow option or rice vinegar as a less acidic one.
  • Sugar: A scant amount of sugar helps mitigate the bites of vinegar and raw onion. You can cut down or omit the sugar if needed, but it’s worth having that balance.


Step 1: Mix the salad

In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream, vinegar, sugar and pepper until the sugar has dissolved and the ingredients have blended smoothly. Add the cucumber and onion slices, and toss to coat.

Editor’s Tip:For the crispest vegetables, before adding them to the salad, toss the cucumber and onion slices with 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and let them sit for 30 minutes. Gently squeeze the slices to remove moisture and salt. Rinse the vegetables and squeeze them again for even less salt in the final recipe.

Step 2: Refrigerate and serve

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (1)TMB Studio

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least four hours. Serve the salad with a slotted spoon or tongs, letting the excess dressing drain into the bowl. Grind more pepper over each serving to taste.

Recipe Variations

  • Use yogurt: If you’re rich in cucumbers but out of sour cream, stir the same amount of unflavored yogurt into the dressing instead. Greek yogurt most closely matches sour cream in thickness and tanginess; plain yogurt is a bit thinner. Creme fraiche is another great substitute for sour cream.
  • Make it vegan: Today’s lineup of dairy-free foods makes it easy to create a vegan version of this salad using dairy-free sour cream or yogurt. For a lighter pickled salad, skip the sour cream and mix the vinegar with 3 tablespoons water to reduce its bite.
  • Add herbs: Dill pickles are so popular because dill is a perfect match for cucumbers, but other herbs, including chives, parsley, mint and tarragon, can be tasty too. Fresh minced herbs release the strongest flavor; add 1 tablespoon to start (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs, according to the fresh-to-dried herb conversion) and then adjust the amount in the next batch to suit your tastes. To make a simple dairy-free cucumber salad with dill, mix 3/4 cup white vinegar, 1/3 cup snipped fresh dill, 1/3 cup sugar and 3/4 teaspoon pepper together, then stir in the cucumbers and serve.
  • Make it spicy: Hot paprika, dried chile flakes or minced fresh chiles, a jalapeno or a hot cherry pepper will infuse the salad with heat as it sits. For more complex spiciness, spike the dressing with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (or one of our test kitchen’s best hot sauce brands). For extra zing without heat, stir in a clove of minced garlic or a little freshly grated ginger and a splash of lemon or lime juice.

How to Store Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream

Leftover creamy cucumber salad should be returned to the refrigerator within two hours (or one hour if temperatures climb above 90°F) to prevent the sour cream from spoiling. The salad will become runny while it is stored. For the best texture, refrigerate it in an airtight container for no more than four days. Extra liquid can be drained away before you serve the salad again.

Can you make cucumber salad with sour cream ahead of time?

Refrigerating creamy cucumber salad with sour cream for four hours turns the thick sour cream into a light dressing that coats the vegetables, but letting it chill longer makes the dressing so watery that it sloughs off the cucumbers. If you want to make this salad ahead of time, plan to serve it within one to three days, and serve it cold from the refrigerator for the best flavor and texture.

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Tips

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (2)TMB Studio

How do you make sure this sour cream cucumber salad isn’t too watery?

To ensure your cucumber salad with sour cream isn’t too watery, slice and salt the cucumbers and onions before mixing them with the sour cream and vinegar. Pickling cucumbers hold slightly less water than slicing ones, so choosing these can also help reduce the salad’s wateriness.

Do you need to peel the cucumbers for sour cream cucumber salad?

You don’t need to peel the cucumbers for this salad, but you might want to if they have thick, waxy skin like American cucumbers. This large, dark green type is the most common and affordable variety, and often just labeled “cucumber” at the grocery store. American cucumbers are almost always waxed before shipping to keep them fresh and undamaged, so if you decide to leave the peel on, give the cucumbers a good scrub before you slice them. If there’s a bitter cucumber taste, peeling off the skin may reduce it.

What do you serve with creamy cucumber salad?

This salad’s combination of tangy, sweet and creamy sits well alongside many main dishes. Serve cucumber salad with Key West flank steak, grilled mahi mahi or other healthy grilled dinners. If you add dill to the salad, serve it alongside salmon. The creamy cucumbers also make a tasty topping or filling. Spread them on a tomato sandwich, tuck them with falafel or gyro meat into pita bread as a stand-in for tzatziki sauce, or chop them coarsely and pile them in a baked potato.

Test Kitchen Approved

Sour Cream Cucumbers

115 reviews

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Prep Time15 min

Yield8 servings.


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 medium cucumbers, peeled if desired, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
Text Ingredients


  1. In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, vinegar, sugar and pepper until blended. Add cucumbers and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 62 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.


Julie Laing

Julie is the author of “The Complete Guide to Pickling” and has been working for two decades as a writer and editor with a focus on food and original recipes since 2016. A food columnist for the Flathead Beacon, Julie covers pickling, comfort food recipes and more for Taste of Home. In her free time, she experiments with different ways to ferme...

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Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (3)

It’s been a tradition at our house to serve this dish with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are fresh-picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio

Recipe Creator

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (2024)


Why soak cucumbers in salt water before making cucumber salad? ›

No matter the salad recipe you're making, salt the cut-up cucumber beforehand. The extra step allows them to release some of their water — keeping them extra crisp even when they get tossed with the dressing.

How do you keep cucumber salad from getting watery? ›

The solution: The standard recommendation for ridding watery vegetable such as cucumbers of unwanted moisture is to salt them. The salt draws out the liquid from the vegetable because of the natural tendency of salt water solutions to equalize when mixed together.

Should I peel cucumber for salad? ›

Should you peel your cucumbers for cucumber salad? Again, it depends on the variety and maturity of the cucumber. English or Persian cucumbers have thin skins which you do not need to peel. Regular market cucumbers may have thicker peels that can be tough and bitter, so it's best to peel those.

Should I rinse cucumbers after salting? ›

' When we salt vegetables we're actually weakening the cell walls and therefore changing the integrity of the cucumber. Simply rinsing well with water will not add moisture back into the vegetable – so it's ok, rinse away!

How to make cucumber more tasty? ›

When you salt cucumber pieces or slices and let them sit for 30 minutes in a colander, the salt draws out excess moisture which then drains away. This means that the cucumber will release less water into whatever dish you're adding it to, such as tzatziki, tabbouleh, Greek salad, or potato salad.

Why is my cucumber salad bitter? ›

Cucumbers—and other members of the pumpkin and gourd family—produce a compound called cucurbitacins that can impart a bitter taste. The amount of cucurbitacins a cucumber contains is increased when the plant faces adverse growing conditions, like a lack of water or excessive heat.

Why are my cucumbers slimy in my salad? ›

Why Are My Cucumbers Slimy? The light-white or clear coating of slime you may find on your cucumbers is a sign that the rotting process has begun, and it's just matter of time before they totally spoil.

Is it okay to eat cucumber salad everyday? ›

But, cucumber is a low-calorie fruit with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so including it in your diet is always a good idea.

What kind of cucumber is best for salads? ›

co*cktail Cucumbers are perfect for wraps, salads, and great for dunking in your favorite dip. Grab some co*cktail Cucumbers and give these recipes a try: Pear Cucumber Salad.

Should you wash cucumbers before eating? ›

Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or purchased from a grocery store or farmer's market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.

How long to soak cucumbers in salt water before pickling? ›

The next step is to make a saltwater solution and soak your cucumbers for a minimum of 12 hours (up to 7 days). The beauty of soaking your cucumbers is that you don't need to be ready to make pickles right when you pick your cucumbers (or bring them home from the market).

What happens when you put a cucumber in salt water? ›

The water in the cucumber cells tries to equalise these different concentrations by moving from the cells to the saltwater solution. As a result, the cucumber loses water and becomes a bit squishy. This environment is referred to as hypertonic.

What does soaking cucumbers in water do? ›

Cucumber water can also offer a tasty alternative to drinks with empty calories, which may aid in weight loss or weight management. The potassium in cucumbers may help with lowering blood pressure. Cucumber water may also help support skin, muscle, and bone health. Learn more about the benefits of cucumber.

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